MEMPHIS, Tenn. — In a second-round playoff series two years ago, the Oklahoma City Thunder and Memphis Grizzlies played a triple-overtime thriller.
The Thunder's 133-123 victory wound up tying the series at 2-2 heading back to OKC and the Thunder went on to win the Western Conference semifinal 4-3.
Much was written and said about that instant classic before Game 4, which was staged Monday night at FedExForum under the exact same circumstances.
Once again, OKC trailed 2-1 and was looking to even the series before heading home.
Monday's Game 4 required only one overtime and all it did was extend the Thunder's suffering with a 103-97 loss to give Memphis a 3-1 lead in this best-of-seven series.
“I'm just glad it didn't go three overtimes,” Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins said afterward.
With the Thunder just one loss away from elimination, Game 5 is Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Game 6, of necessary, would be Friday night at FedExForum.
If Game 7 is necessary, it would be Sunday at The Peake.
Before Game 4 tipped off, three Memphis players stood side-by-side at center court in recognition of being announced as members of the NBA All-Defensive teams earlier in the day.
A sellout crowd of 18,119 at FedExForum roared its approval for former Oklahoma State standout Tony Allen (first team), point guard Mike Conley (second team) and center Marc Gasol (second team).
The Thunder promptly jumped out to a 29-18 lead after the first period, shooting 55.6 percent from the field in the process. OKC shot 53.8 percent for the first half and led 56-48 at intermission.
That's where the fun times ended for the Thunder, which once again struggled for points in the second half.
In the series, OKC has shot just 31.6 percent from the floor in the third quarter while being outscored 92-75.
The Thunder shot just 37.5 percent in the third and fourth quarters, and just 12.5 percent in overtime, going just 1 for 8 from the field with the only conversion being a Derek Fisher 3-pointer.
Kevin Durant went 0 for 5 from the field in the five-minute extra session to finish 10 for 27 from the floor.
OKC led by as many as 17 in the first half at 46-29, but the Grizzlies chipped away thanks to converted wide-open 3-pointers.
Memphis was shooting 31.3 percent on 3-pointers entering Game 4, but converted six of its first nine attempts (66.7 percent) to pull within 64-59 at the 6:48 mark of the third quarter.
The Grizzlies missed their last eight 3-point attempts, but the Thunder still was unable to overtake them.
After struggling all series, Ibaka finished with 17 points, 14 rebounds and three blocked shots.
While the Thunder shut out Memphis 12-0 in fast-break points, the Grizzlies returned to dominating the paint, outscoring OKC 44-30.
Power forward Serge Ibaka, who has led the league in total blocks the last three seasons, was the only Thunder player to receive All-Defensive honors and was selected to the first team. Thabo Sefolosha finished four points shy of making second team. Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant both received votes.